26.01.2011 » Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid. Benzema answers critics with another goal
Karim Benzema's first half goal, led Real Madrid to a 1-0 win at Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal.
The much-questioned France striker, answered critics with a valuable and stunning away goal in the 17th minute at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Benzema gathered the ball inside the Sevilla half, dribbled into the area and shook off two defenders before beating goalkeeper Andres Palop with a low right-footed strike.
Sevilla nearly equalized just before halftime, when Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol slowed Luis Fabiano's goalbound shot and eventually kept it out of goal. TV replays don't show any angle where it may be possible to see the ball crossing the line. The tense atmosphere boiled over toward the end when Real Madrid keeper, Iker Casillas, was hit in the head by what appeared to be a plastic bottle thrown from the stands. Defending champion Sevilla will now look to overcome the deficit in the return leg next week at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“We have taken away a positive result, but Sevilla is a good team and the second leg will be wide open,” Iker Casillas said. Days of goading provided a charged atmosphere as Sevilla pressed forward early but Benzema's class put the visitors in control. The striker's second game-winning goal in two games came after a week when his teammates and coach José Mourinho demanded more from the Frenchman. Real Madrid brought Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City on loan on Tuesday to fill in for the injured Gonzalo Higuain, but Karim Benzema showed he will be an asset to Real Madrid down the stretch after his individual effort.
Benzema raced over to the sidelines to celebrate his goal with José Mourinho. Sevilla looked to equalize with long balls to forwards Frederic Kanoute and Luis Fabiano, who came close with a header at the half-hour mark. Sevilla looked to have equalized when Kanoute put Luis Fabiano through the defense but the linesman ruled Raul Albiol kept the Brazil striker's shot from completely crossing the goal line.
“Almost crossing the line is not the same as crossing the line,” Iker Casillas said.
A physical second half ensued as both teams looked to score, but Sevilla grew exacerbated as its attack failed to threaten Casillas goal and Real Madrid owned the few chances there were. Mesut Oezil somehow failed to make it 2-0 after gathering Cristiano Ronaldo dribbling the goalkeeper, putting Palop out of position, but Sevilla defender Alexis Ruano deflected the ball wide of the open net.
Substitute Alvaro Negredo missed a shot in the dying stages for Sevilla, which has not beaten Real Madrid in a two-legged domestic cup series since 1955. Real Madrid has won the four series since then, including the 1962 final. The 2nd leg will take place in a week in the Santiago Bernabéu.